Former England international Frank Lampard has announced his retirement from football, at the age of 38.
Lampard, who made 913 club appearances and earned 106 caps for his country, announced his decision today (Thursday) on social media.
After 21 incredible years, I have decided that now is the right time to finish my career as a professional footballer. Whilst I have received a number of exciting offers to continue playing at home and abroad, at 38 I feel now is the time to begin the next chapter in my life. I’m immensely proud of the trophies I’ve won, of representing my country over 100 times and of scoring more than 300 career goals. I have many people to thank. I thank my parents for instilling in me the values of hard work, dedication and professionalism, values which I have carried with me in everything that I do. I am forever grateful for the support of my family, my wife Christine and my two daughters Luna and Isla. What you have given me off the pitch has always been my strength on it. I love you all very much. Also, my friends and my own team that have always been there for me. I would like to thank the amazing team-mates, coaches, managers and backroom staff that I was privileged to work with. I’d also like to pay tribute to the clubs that I have represented. Firstly, West Ham United who gave me my debut in 1996. Thanks to the people there that believed in me at that young age. More recently Manchester City and NYCFC. I greatly enjoyed my last playing years at these two clubs and really appreciate the support I received from City Football Group and both clubs’ fans. Of course, the largest part of my heart belongs to Chelsea, a club which has given me so many great memories. I will never forget the opportunity they gave me and the success that we managed to achieve together. It is impossible to give thanks individually to all the people that helped and supported me in my 13 years playing there. All I can say is from the day I signed until now and going forward, I'm eternally grateful for everything and to everyone. Chelsea fans gave myself and my teammates such incredible support. Their passion and hunger drove me on personally to give my best year after year. I couldn't have done it without them. Looking forward, I'm grateful to the FA for the opportunity to study for my coaching qualifications and I look forward to pursuing the off-field opportunities that this decision opens.
His decision brings an end to a fantastic playing career, which started with West Ham United’s youth team back in 1994. He went on to make 187 appearances for the Hammers, his father’s former club, before leaving to join Chelsea for £11 million in June 2001.
Lampard would make 648 appearances for the Pensioners in a hugely successful 13-year spell. During his time at Chelsea he helped the Blues win three Premier League titles, four FA Cups, two League Cups, two Community Shields, the Europa League and the Champions League. Individually, he was named Premier League Player of the Year twice and Chelsea Player of the Year three times.
Although a midfielder, Lampard finished as Chelsea’s top scorer in three separate seasons and is their all-time leading goalscorer with 211 goals. He is also the only midfielder to score more than 150 Premier League goals, and is second behind Ryan Giggs on the list of most Premier League assists.
At international level, Lampard was capped 106 times by England and scored 29 goals. He played at three World Cups and one European Championships, is England’s most prolific penalty taker and was named Player of the Year for his country twice.
Many football pundits, fans and journalists believe Lampard to be the best midfielder of his generation and one of the greatest of all time. He is also considered Chelsea’s best ever player by several former players.
During his playing career he also had a loan spell at Swansea City, a short stint at Manchester City and a couple of years at New York City in Major League Soccer. It was in the US where he played his final game, an Eastern Conference semi-final defeat to Toronto FC.
There were rumours of Lampard returning to England for one last hurrah, but he has ultimately decided the time is right to call it a day.
It’s likely he will now look to pass on his experience and knowledge to the next generation, after studying for his FA coaching qualifications.
The acknowledgement of a fantastic playing career from admirers and on-field foes on Twitter following the announcement shows just how much of an effect he’s had on the game.
After all those Chelsea battles & Frank Lampard now retiring, I can finally admit the respect I had for him & that he was a great player!
— Jamie Carragher (@Carra23) February 2, 2017
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) February 2, 2017
Frank Lampard announces his retirement. Magnificent player who emerged from uncertain beginnings to become the model professional.
— Phil McNulty (@philmcnulty) February 2, 2017
Cometh the hour, cometh the man!
— Premier League (@premierleague) February 2, 2017
— Didier Drogba (@didierdrogba) February 2, 2017
Peter Reynolds, Pundit Arena
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